Patnership to benefit HIV-infected kids

Kathmandu, November 29:

The UNICEF, Family Health International (FHI), National Association of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nepal (NAP+N) and the USAID today launched partnership programme for HIV/AIDS-infected children.

Also at the function organised here today, the four partners handed over the statement of commitment to Dr Rajendra Pant, deputy director at the National Centre for AIDS and STD Control (NCASC). The government will co-ordinate the patnership programme.

The government has already committed to provide free health service and education for all children, but it is for the first time the issue of HIV-infected children has come to fore.

“It is a high time for the state to act on it,” said Dr Rajendra Pant, deputy director at the National Centre for AIDS and STD Control (NCASC). “The government is ready to help for the treatment, care and support of HIV-infected children”, he said, commiting on behalf of the government.

The partnership programme will support the government of Nepal in achieving universal access for children and their families to prevent the disease and to provide treatment and support.

The Universal Access for Children Affected by AIDS in Nepal (UCAAN) will work under the coordination of the National Centre for AIDS and STD Control (NCASC) to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on children in Nepal.

An estimated figure shows 2.5 million children are infected with HIV worldwide. It is estimated that approximately 4,000 children in Nepal are infected with the disease. At present, there are some 51 children receiving treatment in Nepal and about 531 cases of HIV infection is reported in the age group of 0-14 years.

Sara Beysolow Nyanti, project official at the UNICEF, said the government’s commitment would be crucial in addressing the issues of HIV-infected as well as affected children. “The issues of children infected and affected with HIV should be the concern of all,” she said.

Gilian Mellsop, UNICEF representative, Beth Paige, USAID mission director, Jackie McPherson, FHI Country Director Randy Berry, charge d’ affaires of the US embassy also highlighted the importance about the need of patnership for HIV.

Rajiv Kafle, president of NAP+N said children would hold them responsible if they get infection despite all these facilities.

Civil society, private sector, media, hospitals and donor communities were appealed to join the partnership programme.